Here I unpack the closet of my life!

Monday, May 31, 2010

New online magazine goes live!

This weekend I launched my new online magazine, Kings River Life. While it mostly features items of interest to those in the San Joaquin Valley of California, we also have interviews with California authors and we are serializing one of my mystery novels, DEADLY DISCRIMINATION.
Come check us out at We are also looking for submissions from Valley area writers.
Follow us on twitter @kingsriverlife
Later this week look for a new blog post where I share my journey to starting a magazine!
Happy reading & Good Coffee

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pepsi in my closet

Something that my main character, Alexandra Walters, and I have in common is a love of Pepsi. We both know it isn’t good for us, yet often find ourselves turning to it for comfort and just the caffeine to keep going. Alex was introduced to Pepsi by her father, Rueben Walters. In “The Final Note” Alex makes a comment about how she doesn’t know how the bus manages to move forward with so much Pepsi stored in the bins in the bottom of the bus.

I was first introduced to Pepsi by my Grandpa Lewis. I don’t really remember it myself but have been told many times that I was very young and was reaching for his straw. Not thinking I could get anything out of it, Grandpa let me have it. Well I surprised them all by being quite adept with the straw and that’s when I got my first taste of Pepsi. There was no going back. While it’s a habit I’ve tried many times to break, and have succeeded most of the time in cutting back, it’s something that has been a part of my life for almost all of my 44 years now.

Pepsi has a long history in our family as I can’t recall ever seeing my Grandpa without one, and the same has continued with my dad. As he now suffers from Parkinson’s and has been able to retain few of the joys of his life, Pepsi is one of them.

It actually is connected to some wonderful memories for me including one of my Grandma Lewis. After Grandpa passed away, she was lonely so I began spending the nights at her place, which was only 2 houses away from my parent’s home. Each night I’d arrive and she’d have an ice cold Pepsi waiting for me-one she’d put in the freezer just long enough to be extremely cold and wonderful. We’d sit down then and enjoy our Pepsi’s and watch one of many TV shows we enjoyed together. I remember Dallas, Miami Vice and Moonlighting being some of our favorites. I miss those times, and cherish them fondly. It was at that point in our lives that my grandma and I became more than just granddaughter and grandparent-we became friends.

So for better or worse Pepsi will always have a special place in my “closet”. Alex and I both will continue to enjoy the cool, refreshing drink. And now living in what was once my Grandpa and Grandma Lewis’ house, I have made new memories sitting in front of the TV eating popcorn and having Pepsi with my kids while we enjoy a movie, or an episode of Buffy or Monk. My husband even participates of sorts-though his is Diet Pepsi-yuck lol.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to get everyone to go out and enjoy a Pepsi and I realize it’s not a healthy habit. I’m just sharing what it has meant to me and my family-right or wrong.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


This is a book review done by my primary reviewer for my NoName Cafe Book Review Corner site that is on temporary hiatus. Cindy Chow is awesome and has been reviewing books for my site for years. Since the Cafe is on hiatus right now thought I would start posting some of her reviews here in my Closet!

Happy reading and good coffee!


By Elizabeth Zelvin

St. Martin’s Minotaur, $25.99

ISBN: 978-0312582661, 10/09

Review by Cindy Chow

Death Will Help You Leave Him is a story of addictions. Each characters battles his or her own addiction, be it to alcohol, drugs, love, sex, being needed, or, helpful for this novel, an addiction to investigating. Bruce Kohler is nine months sober and working as a temporary paralegal when his best friend’s girlfriend Barbara’s addiction to helping others has the three on a mission of mercy to aid her Al-Anon sponsee Luz, who apparently just discovered the body of her boyfriend in her apartment. The beautiful women had been unable to refrain from loving or leaving the abusive victim, and the fact that Luz has been a little recalcitrant with the truth to everyone has her as the number one suspect on the police suspect list. With considerable pressure from Barbara, Bruce finds himself a little too eager to investigate the dead man’s life, which included drug dealing, several stints in rehab, a bakery-owning family, and most problematic for Luz, a wife. While the addictive high of detecting satisfies some of Bruce’s need for excitement, the reappearance of his bi-polar ex-wife dangerously creates another.

The most compelling aspects of this second novel by Elizabeth Zelvin, a psychotherapist with a strong addiction treatment background, are the addictions of the characters and the various ways they have managed to cope with them. Barbara is impulsive and reckless with her need to constantly help and “fix” other’s problems, Bruce daily battles the desire for alcohol and an attraction to his fragile and reckless ex-wife, and Luz has her own inability to acknowledge the destructiveness of her past relationship. Bruce’s own personal tragedies interweave with his amateurish investigation, and both prove to be realistic and clearly depicted. Despite the somber themes of this mystery, the wry humor of the heroes lighten the tone and make this a very enjoyable read. The characters and their struggles also aid in creating an extremely unique mystery that sucks the reader in and refuses to let go.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Rats in my closet!

Time to venture into the rat side of my closet lol. Yes I did say rats which may send some of you scurrying for the table. But actually domesticated rats are wonderful pets-trust me I used to be part of the table scurrying crowd so I understand. And actually for me the mystery side of my closet and the rat side are now connected as my main character in the new series will end up befriending an adorable blue dumbo rat against her better judgement-but that's a whole other story.
I'd like to take a moment and share with you my introduction to rats as a pet. Like many I was scared to death of all rodents and would have screamed had any come near me. However when my daughter was in 4th grade her class had rats and she begged to have some of her own. After much arguing I gave in with the stipulation that she and her father would take care of them and I would not have to have anything to do with them at all.
Well this lasted all of maybe 24 hours. We brought home a pair of baby female rats and one of them quickly became ill. Somehow any creature in your home that is ill immediately becomes the duty of the mother in the house-I'm not sure why. I took a deep breath and forced myself to care for the ailing creature-within a couple of days I was hooked. This tiny tan baby was so sweet and loving and her fur so very soft she drew me in and made me fall in love with her. Perhaps rats are magical in some way lol. My love for rats was sealed though when I had to return her to the pet store to be put down :( That broke my heart so much that I brought home a replacement and fell immediately in love with a white rat named Hermione.
Hermione was the best example of a rat anyone could ever find and the best first rat anyone could ever have. Not only was she as friendly and loving as a puppy she was smart! She quickly learned her name and if you let her out to play she would come running when you called her and never got into any trouble.
Now keep in mind if you should venture into the rat owning world that just like people each rat is different and most will get into things and chew them and only a few will come running whenever you call. Many tend to have more cat characteristics in them and are very stubborn looking at you when you call them like they're saying to you "what me? Um I don't think so." I'd say rats are an interesting combination of cat and dog traits-they also clean themselves just like cats.
I'm sure I probably haven't sold most of you non rat people on rats yet, but beware if you ever let them in the door you may be won over by their magical powers :)
If you would like to learn more about rats as pets there are many wonderful websites you can check out one of my favorite being RMCA
One of my favorite rat related movies is Ratatouille! I would never let my rats cook but come on isn't he cute?